By Jolyon & Lucy Marks
Directors of Rugbytots North East Kent
We have previously covered the benefits of your children playing sport, and there are of course many. Something just as important is the ability to turn time spent together into quality time.
Sport is a fantastic enabler of this. So many of us work hard and have to spend time away from our children. Time away from your children isn’t always physical, although less obvious, we can spend a whole day with our kids and not really get to interact with them in the way we would like. There are many distractions in life, many unavoidable, so this article serves to highlight how sport can facilitate some quality time with your child in a busy life.
If you are able to sign up for something that you can do with your child that is brilliant, not always possible, but it is a great way to interact both physically and emotionally with them. You can bring out a child’s confidence by helping them understand what is going on, the dynamics of a session and communicating with others. Children will try and replicate what they see, both in adults and in other children. Sport is a great opportunity to demonstrate the behaviours you would like to see in your child and lead by example yourself. It is also a great way to demonstrate positive reinforcement of behaviours that you see in other children. In our last article, we touched on all the social and emotional benefits that playing sport has for children, and to be able to participate with them and influence that is special. So much of that development happens in school where parents are distanced from it, and we all ask the question, what did you do today and get very little in response. By taking part or spectating your child’s extracurricular activities you get the chance to see first hand what your child is doing and how they are responding to different situations. It’s a great chance to both praise and also possibly correct a niggle before they become bad habits.
What would your child get from you participating or spectating their sport? Well, the benefits are endless. The confidence it would give a child to know they are supported in their endeavours goes a long way. The quality time spent even travelling to the activity can help initiate conversation that wouldn’t otherwise happen, time without distractions is incredibly valuable. For those children with siblings to get your full attention, or know that you are there for them alone in that moment is incredibly important to a child, even if only for a short period of time. It will mean a lot to them and go a long way in building the relationship between you. Whether success in sport, or simply staying healthy and having fun are the motivations, both will be fulfilled more easily if parents play an active role. And what do potentially cold, soggy mornings standing on a side-line mean for parents. Well perhaps not obvious at first, the cold, wet mornings are enough to make anyone hesitate, but the pride you experience is witnessing your child do their best, the chance to have quality time with them and interact on their level, and the knowledge that it makes a difference to your child for you to be there. Who could ask for more!